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Skip Scarborough was a songwriter and producer who worked with Earth, Wind & Fire, Patti Labelle, LTD, and many other R&B stars before his death in 2003. He wrote the music for this song, and was also the inspiration for the lyrics Withers came up with. Withers told us: "Skip was a very nice, gentle man. The way Skip was, every day was just a lovely day. He was an optimist. If I had sat down with the same music and my collaborator had been somebody else with a different personality, it probably would have caused something else to cross my mind lyrically. It was a combination of the music and the person and the ambiance in the room."
Withers: "We're all sponges in a sense. You put us around very nice people, and the nice things come out in us. You put us around some jerks, and we practice being jerks. We all adjust. Did you ever notice the difference in the way you speak to your grandmother or your best contemporary friend? If I had sat down with the same music and my collaborator had been somebody else with a different personality, it probably would have caused something else to cross my mind lyrically."
In 1999, this was used in a series of very popular commercials for The Gap, where it helped sell a lot of Khakis. Many people discovered the song because of the commercial.
Near the end of the song, Withers holds a note for 18 seconds... "Lovely Daaaaaaaaay." This might be the longest held vocal note of any hit song.
In 1992, a group called The Soul System remade this into a dance song that was used in the movie The Bodyguard
. It wasn't the first time one of Withers' songs was made into a dance hit - in 1987 Club Noveau had a #1 hit with a cover of "Lean On Me
Artists who have covered this include Clarence Carter, Hootie & the Blowfish and Take 6. Luther Vandross also recorded it with Busta Rhymes on Vandross' last album Dance With My Father
. (Read the full interview with Bill Withers
Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")
Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.
Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.
The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks
and how she captured a song from a dream.